Mindful Eating Exercise (How to)

Mindful Eating Exercise

This blog aims to provide you with some of the most effective mindful eating exercises.

These mindful eating exercises can be followed to practice mindful eating. Mindful eating has various benefits which will be discussed later on in this blog.

So let’s not delay and start the blog with the definition of mindful eating.

Mindful Eating Exercise (How to)

What is Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating is the process of eating with awareness.

Mindful eating refers to the awareness about the benefits of healthy food intake, utilizing all five senses while eating food, acknowledging your feelings and emotions in relation to different food items (tasty, not tasty, neutral), and be able to detect and distinguish between your physical hunger and satiety to decide what and when to eat.

Someone Who Eats Mindfully:

The one who eats mindfully knows that there is no right and wrong way of eating but the experience of being around the food differs.

The one who eats mindfully knows that their eating experiences are different from others.

The individual who engage in mindful eating know what he is eating and in which quantity.

Such an individual can make healthy decisions about food that would help him stay healthy and improve his overall well-being.

The individual who eats mindfully knows the effect of food on him and his surroundings.

Benefits of Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is very beneficial for individuals.

Mindful eating help individuals reduce their compulsive eating, increase their awareness about healthy and nutritious food, elevate the enjoyment of food instead of indulging in excessive eating, increase the chances of making muscles strong rather than covered with fat layers.

Does it Help with Weight Loss and Dieting?

Mindful eating has a wide range of benefits from physical to psychological.

Mindful eating help individuals stay healthy, relieve stress, manage anger reduce anxiety, and so forth.

It prevents individuals from eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating. 

Mindful eating also helps in reducing weight.

Empirical evidence has proved that there is a direct, positive relationship between mindful eating and healthy eating.

Mindfulness is associated with less impulsive eating, low-calorie intake, and healthy food choices (Jordan, Wang, & Donatoni, 2014).

The research results of the study of Dalen, Smith, Shelley, Sloan, Leahigh, and Begay (2010) show that mindfulness-based weight loss programs help in increasing mindfulness and cognitive restraint around eating.

The research results further inveiled mindfulness-based weight loss programs help in reducing weight, eating disinhibition, binge eating, perceived stress, physical symptoms, and negative affect. 

Another study revealed that mindful eating at restaurants helps women in managing their weight.

The women who took part in this intervention lost their weight, decreased their calorie and fat intake on a daily basis, and their self-efficacy increased due to the feeling that they can lose their weight (Timmerman & Brown, 2012).

Can it Help Treat Eating Disorders?

Mindful eating also helps in curing eating disorders.

A mindfulness-based eating awareness training unveiled that mindful eating is effective in reducing the episodes of binge eating, increase self-control in case of food, and reduces the symptoms of depression associated with binge eating (BED; Kristeller & Wolever, 2010).

Empirical evidence has shown that mindful eating helps reduce binge eating and emotional eating habits (Katterman, Kleinman, Hood, Nackers, & Corsica, 2014).

Furthermore, a mindful eating group used in conjunction with more traditional eating disorder treatment showed a reduction of disordered eating symptoms over a 10-week intervention (Hepworth, 2010).

Mindful Eating Exercise (How to)

Mindful Eating Exercises

The following are some of the most effective mindful eating exercises that you can practice while eating and expect positive outcomes.

All of the mindful eating exercises mentioned below are very helpful for the physical, emotional, and psychological health.

1) Let Your Body Catch Up to Your Brain

Eating rapidly can prevent us from detecting the signals of the brain and stomach.

Hence, it is very important to slow down the process of eating while having meals.

Slowing down helps in getting in touch with the mind and the body to determine what we need for nutrition.

Satiation signals are sent by the body twenty minutes after the brain. This is the reason why we indulge in unconscious eating.

Slowing down can help us to catch up with the brain and identify the precise amount of food that we need to intake.

Slow eating can be practiced by chewing every food bite for about 25 times (or more), setting the fork between the plate, focusing on the sounds around us, and so forth. 

2) Know Your Body’s Personal Hunger Signals

We often eat when we get emotional.

So every time you sit down for eating, it is very important to identify whether you are eating because you are feeling hungry or you are responding to an emotional want.

Mindfulness helps us to listen to our bodies before our minds.

Emotional signals like stress, anxiety, anger, loneliness etcetera can give us signals to eat but instead of listening to the signals from the mind, we need to identify the needs of our bodies.

Hunger signals like growling in the stomach, low energy, lightheadedness etcetera can help us identify that our bodies need food.

Mindful eating is the ability of an individual to identify the needs of his body and act accordingly.

For this purpose, it is very important to be aware of your emotional signals and personal hunger signals as they vary from person to person.  

4. Enjoy the Silence

Eating in silence can help increase mindfulness and improve mindful eating.

It is true that we enjoy having meals with friends, family, co-workers, and relatives, as it gives us a chance to stay connected to them and spent quality time with time, but this contributes to distract us from our food.

To develop a habit of mindful eating, it is very important to eat in silence. 

It does feel awkward when everybody sitting on the table is talking and you are not.

So, to feel better and practice mindful eating at the same time, enjoy this moment and later on, when you sit down to eat alone in silence, avoid using a mobile phone, watching television, or anything else. 

Mindful eating can be practiced with families too.

If you want to eat mindfully and at the same time you do not want to miss the chance of gossiping with your family members, spare the first five minutes for eating by either making it a game of a challenge.

Eat mindfully in these five minutes then continue your gossips.

The one who failed to stay quiet for these five minutes fails and has to wash the dishes after the meal is finished. 

5. Ditch Technology

You might feel proud while saying that you can eat and watch television simultaneously or you can eat and listen to the songs at the same time, but this is not a good habit.

Phones, television, mp3, and other electronic devices are all distractions.

These electronic devices distract you form measuring the amount of food you are intaking and prevent mindful eating. 

While watching television or scrolling social websites, we ignore the food.

So it is very important to separate your mealtime from these distractions.

Staying away from electronic devices for just some minutes won’t do bad to you.

It would help you eat mindfully and once you are done with eating, you can continue what you were doing earlier. 

Recommended Amazon Tools and Books

The following is a list of some of the most popular, top-rated, and effective amazon tools and books.

These would help you increase your knowledge about mindful eating and give you an opportunity to discover various mindful eating exercises.

Click on your favorite amazon tool or book and you will be redirected to the page from where you can access it. 

  • The Mindfulness-Based Eating Solution: Proven Strategies to End Overeating, Satisfy Your Hunger, and Savor Your Life by Lynn Rossy Ph.D., Melinda Wade, et al.
  • The Emotional Eating Workbook: A Proven-Effective, Step-by-Step Guide to End Your Battle with Food and Satisfy Your Soul by Carolyn Coker Ross
  • Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food (Revised Edition) by Jan Chozen Bays
  • Mindful Eating For Dummies (For Dummies Series) by Laura Dawn  | Oct 27, 2014
  • Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food (Includes CD) by Jan Chozen Bays  | Feb 3, 2009
Mindful Eating Exercise (How to)

What is mindful eating?

Mindful eating is referred to as developing awareness of your experiences, personal hunger signals, and feelings in regard to food. 

How can I practice mindful eating?

Mindful eating can be practiced in a variety of ways.

Some practices to develop mindful eating and staying health include honoring the food, using all six senses while having meals, getting served in small portions, savoring small bites and chewing those bites for as long as you can, eating slowly and avoiding overeating as well as distractions, and avoiding skipping meals.

Does mindful eating work?

According to a study, published in the journal Nutrition Research Reviews, mindful eating interventions were the most effective in treating binge eating, emotional eating, and eating in response to external cues. 

What are the benefits of mindful eating?

These are a number of benefits for eating mindfully.

Mindful eating reduces stress, increases enjoyment, makes the process of digestion easier, reduces calories, reduces weight, prevents and treas binge eating, controls food without letting food control you, and enables you to enjoy the moment.

What should I eat at 3 am?

Midnight snacks which you can eat at 3 a.m. include the intake of whole grains, bananas, cottage cheese, turkey, apple, peanut butter, and cherries. 

How can I train myself to eat less?

Some ways in which you can train yourself to eat less include intake of vegetables as they contain water in great amounts,  intake of protein with every meal or snack, drinking water while having a meal, starting your meal with an appetizer such as salad or soup, use small plates and forks, eat mindfully, spice up meals and eat more fiber.

Mindful Eating Exercise (How to)

This blog aimed to help you acknowledge the uses and benefits of mindful eating.

The blog mentioned some of the most effective mindful eating exercises.

You can practice these exercises to develop the habit of mindful eating which will not only help you stay fit and healthy but also improve your emotional and psychological health.

We hope you would have liked this blog. Your reviews about the blog are welcomed.

If you have any queries or questions regarding this blog, let us know through your comments. We will be glad to assist you.  

References

58 Science-Based Mindful Eating Exercises and Tips by Courtney E. Ackerman (2020)

What is Mindful Eating? BY MEGRETTE FLETCHER (2016)

6 Ways to Practice Mindful Eating BY CHRISTOPHER WILLARD (2019)

Mindful Eating: A Simple Exercise for a Happier Relationship with Food | Nutritiously 

Mindful Eating Exercise by Kim Pratt (2014)

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Nadejda Romanciuc

Nadejda Romanciuc holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a diploma in Addiction studies. She is part of the Romanian Association of Integrative Psychotherapy as a psychotherapist under supervision. She's practicing online counselling for over two years and is a strong advocate for mental health.